Tuesday, January 05, 2010


ŽIVOT I SMRT PORNO BANDE našla se na listi najboljih deset filmova po izboru Mitch Davisa programera uglednog montrealskog festivala FANTASIA.

Fantasia's Mitch Davis Picks His Favorites Of 2009
Todd Brown, January 4, 2010 10:36 AM

[Just when you thought the onslaught of Year End lists had come to an end here comes another. We welcome Mitch Davis - head of International Programming at Montreal's
Fantasia Festival and a very good friend to this site - with his year end wrap up.]Ignore the grumpy naysayers who groan that 2009 was a weak year for world cinema. Nothing could be further from the truth. Below are my top 11 picks, personal favourites among favourites (a top 30 list would have been unwieldy!). It bears mentioning that at the time of this writing, I've not yet seen THE WHITE RIBBON, MOTHER, IL DIVO, SYMBOL, VERMILLION SOULS or ACCIDENT, to name but a few. In other words, this list, like all lists, is an incomplete snapshot.
11. IN THE LOOPIf there was a funnier film this year, I must have missed it. Subversive, acerbic and gut-wrenchingly hilarious, like DR STRANGELOVE meets THE OFFICE. Incredible.
10. DRAG ME TO HELLSam Raimi's volume-eleven return to the genre is everything much of us had been hoping for: a grossout EC-comic rollercoaster that combines Grand Guignol horror, loopy wide-eyed humour and extreme physical trauma to make an epic of morbidly cartoonish grotesquery of the sort that only Raimi in his prime could pull off. PG-13 rating be damned, this film delivered.
9. THE CLONE RETURNS HOME (Kurôn wa kokyô wo mezasu)This hypnotic science-fiction film from Kanji Nakajima is a cerebral discourse on memory and mourning whose tone can perhaps best be described as an Eastern Tarkovsky work. Staged with patience and precision, it's the sort of reflective, whisper-quiet film that rarely sees production in this age. It's plot is very similar to that of MOON (also a great film, though, in my opinion, the inferior of the two), which must have been strange for audiences at Sundance 2009, where both films were showcased!
8. ANTICHRIST'nuff said.
7. A SERIOUS MANFrom its jaw-dropping Hassidic Bava opening to its quietly disturbing finale, this stripped-down, celebrity-free masterpiece is one of the strongest Coen Brothers films to date. For whatever reason, it's also among the least talked-about. I'm not sure if my having been expelled from Hebrew school in Grade II - and subsequently losing my grasp of nine tenths of the language and culture - has anything to do with it, but this astounding, black satire of Jewish life had me laughing, gasping and cringing like few films have this year. It also managed to break my heart and leave me in dizzy, queasy waves. Brilliant casting across the board as well, with the imaginatively beat-perfect scripting and direction that we've come to expect from the Coens. If you missed it, and going from the film's dire box office numbers, you probably have, make a viewing one of your new year's resolutions.
6. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDSTarantino's alternate reality WWII epic is one of the most unlikely studio films of the year, 80% of it told in languages other than English, as it questions the nature of morality and retribution in the most purely cinematic terms imaginable. Masterful filmmaking, featuring among its countless attributes, some of the most impressive cinematography of Robert Richardson's career. Extra points awarded for a bizarrely show-stopping tip of the hat to Eurohorror thesp Hugo Stiglitz!
5. THE LIFE AND DEATH OF A PORNO GANG (Zivot i smrt porno bande)Simply put, this is the gutsiest, most shocking film of 2009. It is to Serbian culture what CLOCKWORK ORANGE was to Great Britain. With this film, about a travelling "porno cabaret" who travel from village to village performing unusual live sex acts as a means of sexual confrontation, before taking their disciplines into darker, deadlier places, writer/ director Mladen Djordjevic joins ranks with Gaspar Noé, Lars Von Trier, Takashi Miike and Michael Haneke as one of the most daring and provocative filmmakers working today. You likely haven't heard of this film because, aside from the always-great Raindance Film Festival in the UK, most fests have been too scared to go near it (to be fair, the film does plainly break obscenity codes in many parts of the world)
4. ENTER THE VOID (Soudain le vide) VOID is an imperfect film, but that doesn't matter in the slightest. As a staunchly individualistic work of deeply raw, deeply personal expression, it's one of the purest films of its kind, and this writer can only stare in awe before the unadulterated emotional force of it. An extraordinary accomplishment by any standards and a landmark in no holds barred personal visions burned into light. That it was made on such a grandiose scale is no small miracle in these times. It bears mentioning that I saw the Tiff cut of the film, not the earlier, and apparently, less sharpened, version that screened in Cannes. I was enthralled every second of the way, and it was my favourite film of Tiff 2009, not to mention the most wholly cinematic, unfolding in a visual / aural language all its own.
3. PONTYPOOL The most original Canadian genre film since VIDEODROME and one of the most effective comedy/horrors I've seen in many years - in that it manages to be both laugh out loud funny and utterly terrifying with neither element eclipsing the other. A work of absolute genius, exceptionally well-scripted and directed, with a central performance by Stephen McHattie that is nothing short of stunning. I saw at a festival screening in 2008, but since the film only saw theatrical release in 2009 (and because I want everyone and their language-infected dog to know about this underseen gem), I'm listing it here.
2. AMER This incredible feature debut from Belgian co-directing duo Helene Cattet & Bruno Forzani, following a decade of award-winning short film work (if you'll forgive a shameless-but-useful plug, their CHAMBRE JAUNE can be seen on the Fantasia SMALL GAUGE TRAUMA dvd, released by Synapse Films) is a visually-dazzling psychosexual horror/thriller told in three parts, lensed with more style and ingenuity than almost the entire canon of Giallo films that have inspired it. It is a compelling re-invention of '60s and '70s Italian film aesthetics that uses these re-worked visual codes as a vehicle for personal storytelling, fuelled with passion, pain and a ferociously original point-of-view. Breathtaking.
1 LOVE EXPOSURE (Ai no mukidashi)Sion Sono's exhilarating ode to the agony of love is a 4-hour hurricane of adoration and hysteria, poetry and perversion, humour and horror that juggles contrasting styles and tones like nothing you've ever seen. LOVE EXPOSURE is my top film of 2009 and one of the standout productions of the decade. It is pure euphoria. ________________
Most auspicious feature directorial debuts: a six-way tie (can that even be done??) between: AMER, BREATHLESS, THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF LITTLE DIZZLE, THE LOVED ONES, MUST LOVE DEATH, WHITE LIGHTNIN'


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